Mid-market property and casualty insurers are at risk of losing their hold on the niche markets they’ve carved out for themselves, according to Ellen Carney, principal analyst with Forrester Research.
Ms. Carney’s research focuses on the technology decisions that financial services firms invest in.
Ellen sketches a competitive landscape peopled by digitally empowered consumers conditioned to comparison shop, share personal information in return for a personalized customer experience, and purchase (near) immediate gratification online. Flocks of competitors are rising to meet the changing expectations of these customers and challenge traditional providers in financial services, including insurance.
Large insurers, as well as banks, credit card companies, big box stores, and even Google, see an opportunity to leverage their stockpiles of customer data and offer insurance coverage as an adjunct to other personal and business financial services.
P&C insurers should have a competitive edge in their specialized markets thanks to their own stockpiles of in-depth and nuanced information about their customers’ histories, highly specific needs, and individual preferences, Ellen notes. There are some things, after all, about a ranch or farmhold policy holder that only his or her P&C insurer can know.
But dig into a P&C insurer’s stockpile and you will typically find that the data is siloed in separate operating systems, different analytics platforms serve different discrete functions, and historical data is archived away from live data-generating engagement systems. The mash-up of multiple data silos and analytics technologies can be made to work, but it inevitably limits the insurer’s ability to respond to the needs of customers and agents through key touchpoints.
A more urgent concern, from Ellen’s perspective, is that the mash-up makes it impossible for everyone across the enterprise to share a unified view of the business and its customers past, present and – vitally – into the future. The full competitive value of the insurer’s data is wasted – even as digitally-savvy companies are aiming to disrupt the P&C business model.
The engines that power digital business – and P&C insurance is surely becoming a digital business – are what Forrester calls “systems of insight.” These systems integrate data and analytics to uncover insights that are applied to enhance customer engagements, with results measured for fresh insights and continuous learning.
There are significant challenges. A Forrester survey of insurance data and analytics decision-makers found respondents most daunted by the need to build cross-functional teams able to collaborate on developing, testing and implementing actionable insights. Persuading budget keepers to buy in to funding systems of insight also ranked among top challenges.
Other big concerns focused primarily on technologies. The need to find a way to source, gather, manage and govern data as it grows was ranked second among challenges by respondents. Cited nearly as often: Assembling the right platform of data management, analytics, work management, and insight execution technologies.
ibi has made its own investment in solutions that address the technology challenges to adopting the system of insights model.
Indeed, ibi Omni-Insurance was developed in collaboration with P&C insurers to unlock the value of their data assets as a source for strategic insight into enhancing customer experiences, developing “stickier” policies with more individualized services, managing a book of business with more refined definitions of niche markets, products, performance indicators and, ultimately, greater profitability.
Omni-Insurance breaks down data silos and extracts records from legacy systems, harmonizing and consolidating every scrap of data on a single hub for a unified view of the business over time that can be shared across the enterprise.
Omni-Insurance analytics provide reports and dashboards, with prebuilt P&C KPIs, for executives, underwriters, actuaries, claims and finance to access the data they need for informed decision-making.
More, analysts can create cross-functional consumption views of granular data, making it possible to engage the collective intelligence of all enterprise knowledge workers in developing insights that focus on differentiating and enhancing the customer experience.